If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Thursday, January 20, 2011


Recent Sister in Crime emails have questioned the usefulness of blogs for promoting sales of mystery novels. Guppies who submit to small presses have mentioned that these presses suggest authors reach out to readers outside their writing groups. Mystery writing groups are supportive of their members but writers within these groups want to sell books as much as buy them.

If a mystery has a setting that emphasizes cooking, sewing, or gardening, a writer can reach out to non-writers interested in these activities. The same holds true for writers who perfuse their stories with music, politics, or sports. Perhaps a regional setting grounds a mystery and would interest people living in the area.

The interests I write into my stories tend to be social. My dad grew up poor and hungry at a time when little was done to help the families of single mothers. I think for that reason he always encouraged his children to be involved in helping the community. Four of his six children have careers in medicine and teaching. I would find it hard to ignore a homeless person or a disheveled person talking to himself and clearly disoriented.

Although the novel I am now submitting for publication does not have an upfront theme of the rape of the innocent, the story does develop characters raped in their early teens. Everything in the media and often in literature also emphasizes the wonder of sex and how every red-blooded American woman should welcome her sexuality. Teenage women want to be popular and they’re often in a hurry to grow up. Unfortunately they often lack the street smarts to insure their safety.

According to statistics put out by the Justice Department, one in two rape victims is under the age of 18, and one in six is under the age of 12. It’s estimated that 60% of rapes go unreported and that 93% of juvenile victims know their attacker. Possibly these two estimates are related. A juvenile can be threatened into silence. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, if unreported rapes are factored into the numbers, approximately 6% of rapists ever spend a day in prison. The rest are free to rape again.

As a mother of teenage daughters, I was concerned for their safety. As children, they trusted the adults involved in their care and development. Suddenly, at a time when they wanted to feel their independence, these same adults started to insist there were bad people out to harm them for no reason. I imagined how an assault would affect the awakening emotions of an adolescent. I think my imaginings during that time have filtered into my writing.

The next novel in my series, a series about missing persons, includes homeless characters. As a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, I took care of homeless persons, some of whom were set on fire by groups of young people. The flea-infested clothes of homeless persons were removed in the ER. As nurses, we found out it took a week of showers to remove fleas from hair and body. Before leaving the hospital, a homeless person would be given a fresh set of clothes donated by religious organizations. Often homeless people would be upset that they couldn’t keep their original clothes that were thrown out. They were homeless for a number of reasons and their personalities varied widely. MR900386057

Often on a snowy night, as I walked from the parking lot to the hospital entrance, I would wonder how homeless persons could tolerate the extreme cold with only a cardboard box or a subway grating to warm them. I wondered why they didn’t move south for the winter. Before MGH was renovated, the front desk officers would let some of the homeless stay in the huge main lobby out of freezing winter temperatures. Sometimes, as I left in the morning, one of them would wave to me. “That’s Pauline. My nurse,” he’d say to one of the other homeless persons. I doubt whether being a brand name among the homeless will help me sell books but I do know many homeless persons seek connection.

Although I’m not an avid cook or sports woman, I enjoy reading books that include these subjects. I can’t believe I’m alone in wondering what happens to rape victims over time or how do the homeless survive. Are there characters you wonder about as you walk or drive through busy streets?


Warren Bull said...

As a psychologist I worked with homeless people among others. Their lives were so moment to moment
that it was rare for a homeless person to show up for a second scheduled appointment. I remember one woman of limited intellectual abilities who told me in detail where and when during the week she could get a free meal from various church groups and charities. Her schedule for the seek was much more complicated than mine.

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, I wonder. There was a boy, about twelve-years-old, who came to my door selling firewood. Behind him on the street, I saw a broken down truck driven by a shriveled looking man, presumably his father. I didn't need firewood at the time. My immediate response was negative. As I shut the door, I realized the boy resembled my son. I so wish I'd bought firewood that day whether I needed it or not.

Pauline Alldred said...

Several homeless persons who ended up as patients appreciated the relatively comfortable bed and three meals a day but they didn't like lights out at ten p.m. or the no smoking rules. I guess every life style has its advantages and not having to conform or obey rules seems part of being homeless.

And Warren, I never met a homeless person eager to learn how to make psychological changes. They spend too much time thinking about basic survival issues--Maslow's hierarchy--food and shelter way before self-realization. But,as Elaine pointed out, it could be important to reach out to the children of homeless families.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Pauline, what an interesting blog. I often wonder not what happens to them afterward, but what led them to that point. I'm so sad when I see someone on a street corner or at my church's soup kitchen. I want to know what his story is and what led him to that point. And forgive me, if it's a woman, I want to know even more.

As for hobbies etc. when I pick up a book, I'm not necessarily compelled by that, if a book has great blurb and a great mystery/thriller feel, I want to read it. And of course if it's an author I've learned to trust tells a great story.

Nice post!

Warren Bull said...

Pauline, I have only seen a few homeless people whose priorities included dealing with their emotional issues. However, if I could help them get a degree of stability and predictability in their lives, then other issues could come to the fore.

Polly Iyer said...

With changing times, homeless persons are changing too. There are numbers of previously middle class joining the ranks for one reason or another, whether it be mortgage problems or a myriad of other unforeseeable events. Sometimes I'm glad I don't go out often to see that person with a sign that says "work for food." You want to know their story, but you don't. But seeing homeless children, that's the worst.

Pauline Alldred said...

Donnell and Polly, thank you for your comments. I used to take care of homeless people who were mentally ill, alcoholics, or abused in their families or by their spouses, and veterans who couldn't adjust to civilian life. Lately I've met teenagers raised by homeless parents and the teengers describe being scared as children.

Warren, as you said, it's amazing how difficult survival on the streets can be. I once took care of a 60 year old schizophrenic woman who looked 40 at the most. Did she survive by not being aware of how bad her situation was, I wonder.